A/N: I'm piggy backing off of last night's first episode, but I can guarantee you that this story will be completely different down the road (except for the whole Headmaster is CJ's father thing. That was going to be one of my plot twists dang it! Stupid two day waiting time before you can post stories…) Anyways, I'm excited I hope you are too!

Disclaimer for the entire story: © Cartoon Network


Prologue


Jaguar – chaos (from the Language of Animals)


"Hey Suk, we've gotten a reading on that thing yet?" Gabriel Forrest takes a step towards his friend (and secret crush) Suki Sato in the Tower Prep observatory.

"I don't have a clear shot of the horizon, but I'd say our latitude is somewhere between the 48th – 52nd parallel." Suki pulls away from the window and looks back over her shoulder, fiddling with the gold sextant in her hand.

Ian Archer lets out a breath from his seat at the table. "Wow, that could be North America, Europe, Russia." He shrugs and plays with a globe next to him.

"What does it matter if we can't escape?" CJ Ward sighs beside him.

Ian straightens, surprised at his friends lack of confidence. "What do you mean, 'What does it matter if we can't escape'?" he questions. After a short pause he continues, "That was our first try," he says. "So we try again. And we don't give up until we find a way out."

"The Broken were our way out." She looks away and shrugs. "And now they're gone."

"Maybe the Gnomes didn't get them." Suki inputs, arms crossed. "Maybe The Broken just…got away."

"But if the Gnomes did get them then we have to assume that they talked," Gabe says, resting against a banister. "We have to assume everyone knows about our plans to escape."

"But Cal wasn't under that helmet," CJ stresses.

"Doesn't mean he didn't tip them off," Gabe says flatly.

Ian, though CJ put's up a good argument, does not trust Cal. He doesn't trust him one bit. And he wants to trust CJ, but it doesn't take perception to know that she is hiding something. And Ian hates to think that it's anything that would put her against them.

"Okay, fine. If everyone knows then why hasn't the hammer dropped?" Gabe questions. "Why are we still here?"

"I don't know," Ian says. "But I think—

Suddenly, a hollow, echoing alarm cuts through the observatory. A warning.

"This is a stage 3 alert. All students return to your dorm rooms. Repeat, return to your dorm rooms."

Suki and CJ turn to each other, worry flashing across their faces.

"What's that?" Gabe voices aloud, looking up towards the ceiling.

Suki shrugs but then turns towards the window.

A muffled yelling is slowly resonating from outside the cold glass. "Guys," she waves them over, "Look!"

Ian rushes over, Gabe hot on his heels. Through the dirty window he can make out a figure exiting the woods that surrounds the school. Then another. And another. Soon, there are masses of kids spilling from the dark forest, torches in some hands, gleaming weapons in others.

"The Broken," he whispers in disbelief. "They've started the rebellion."

Redfang and Conrad are leading the charge, which had now reached the heavy wooden front door. Ian didn't just see them ram through the wood, he heard it. The whole school shakes from the impact. And there is a sudden shiver crawling up Ian's spine. He doesn't know why, but he suddenly does not want to be there.

"They're in," Gabe breaths.

The unmistakable crackling of Gnomes starts radiating from the translator on the table almost simultaneously with the appearance of The Broken. The takeover is happening. Right now.

"We need to leave," Ian turns to his three friends. "Now. It's the biggest diversion we'll ever get."

CJ is frozen for a second, eyes calculating. "Cal!" she says moments later and even Ian's preflex cannot notify him soon enough to stop her escape.

"CJ!" he calls after, but she is out the door before he can stop her. For a moment he is torn between staying with his friends and going after her. For a split second, he thinks hard about CJ Ward.

She was beautiful, but damn did she have baggage.

He'd come to Tower Prep eight months earlier. Since then they'd had daily contact, but still he couldn't say that he truly understood her.

Did he like CJ? Did that explain all the sexual tension when Cal was brought up? All the eye flirting when they were around each other? Or was CJ simply the only option in order to make him feel like a normal teenage boy?

He couldn't put his finger on it, but there was a solid feeling telling him that if something happened to her during this overrun, then he would never forgive himself.

And that was a strong enough feeling for him to hold on to and act on.

"Go after her," Gabe pushes him forward with urgency, snapping him out of his trance. "Suki and I'll get all the supplies. We'll meet outside at the tree line."

Ian nods and sprints out the door.

He may have preflex, but even he couldn't have seen this coming.

The hallways are chaotic, frantic and his preflex is so overloaded with reflexes that he can't read anyone. He'll avoid someone to his right, only to run into someone on his left. There are only students at first, scurrying to get out or hid in their dorm room, but as he gets closer and closer to CJ's room, the innocent mobs turn into brawling ones. Broken and Gnomes alike just throwing down in the middle of the hallway.

Ian has never been so on edge in his life. While he wants to help The Broken in their fight against the school, he cannot waist time with their meaningless battles. So he avoids them the best he can, dodging elbows and kicks.

He ducks and weaves his way to CJ's room, but finds no comfort when he sees that her door is wide open and she is not there. "Goddamn it CJ!" he slams his hand against the doorframe. "Where are you?"

There's a little voice in the back of his that is telling him to leave her. After all, she left to go look for Cal. Which meant she still cared about the Gnome traitor. And which meant she didn't care about him.

He growls to himself, because whether she likes Cal or not, he has feelings for her. Turning, he sprints down the hall to find Cal's room. He will find her. He promises himself that.

Except…he has no idea where Cal's room is. Maybe downstairs? But the closer he moves to the entrance, the more fights he'll run into. And more fights means—

The back of his neck prickles, and Ian instantly knows.

He turns slowly.

At the end of the hall, past the many one-on-one fights, stands a Gnome.

Immediately, Ian knows it is Cal. It's the same preflex sensation he always gets around the kid, and suddenly he is sprinting forward. The Gnome opposite him does the same.

Ian ducks and dodges wild fists from other fights until he reaches his opponent dead center of the hallway. Without hesitation he throws a right hook. Cal ducks and swipes at him with his left forearm.

A cold sensation hits Ian's stomach and he looks down out of reflex. His shirt is sliced open and Ian glances to Cal's forearm. There are spikes on it, ones that match the sharp points on his armored shoulders.

And suddenly Ian realizes that the Gnomes knew this was going to happen. Because the student in front of him now is dressed in upgraded armor, and through the helmet, Ian can hear Cal laugh.

Ian sighs and rolls his eyes.

This was going to be a long—long night.


A/N: Whatcha think?